Jewish-Christian Schism Revisited (Theology in a Postcritical Key)
Between 1971 and 1996, the late John Howard Yoder wrote a series of ten essays revisiting the Jewish-Christian schism. He argued that, properly understood, Jesus did not reject Judaism, Judaism did not reject Jesus and that the apostle Paul's mandate for the salvation of the nations is best understood not as a product of his Hellenization, but rather as belonging to the context of his Jewish heritage. Drawing on his lifelong critique of the Constantinian deformation of Christianity, Yoder argues that the free church vision of Christianity can be closely linked to Diaspora Judaism. In their introduction, the editors locate Yoder's argument in relation to his decades-long dialogue with the philosopher and rabbi Steven S. Schwarzschild and in relation to Yoder's understanding of Jewish-Christian reconciliation. The editors also show how Yoder's understanding of the Jewish-Christian schism must be understood in the context of his theological understanding of what it means for Christians and Jews to share the God-given vocation to be missionary peoples to and for the nations.